Central Michigan field crops regional report – May 21, 2015

Planting resumes as fields dry out in central Michigan.


After a week of cool, wet weather, farmers are getting back into the fields hoping to wrap up planting the 2015 crop before Memorial Day, May 25. The region is still about 2.5 inches of rain below the five-year average according to the Michigan State University Freeland Enviro-weather station. The region still lags about 30 growing degree days (GDD) behind the five-year average of 305 GDD. The northern part of the region experienced light frost the morning of May 20. There were reports of temperatures dropping to 28 degrees for a short time. Little if any crop damage has been reported.

Farmers are reporting average to poor field conditions for planting, but are continuing to get ahead of the rains predicted for next week. The cool conditions have kept insect and disease pressure to a minimum.

Commodity reports

Corn planting is wrapping up with most of the crop expected to be in the ground by the weekend. Early planted fields have emerged with very uniform stands. The crop is very yellow due to the cooler temperatures. There are no reported insect or disease problems at this time. Traps for armyworm moths have had zero catches to date. Continue to scout fields for disease, insect or stand problems.

Soybeans are being planted where field conditions allow. The early planted fields have emerged with very good stands observed. There is some concerns the wet soil conditions are ideal for seedling diseases. No reported problems at this time.

Wheat is in Feekes growth stage 7-8. The crop is progressing rapidly and farmers are struggling to get herbicide and nitrogen applications made due to the wet field conditions. Some micronutrient deficiencies are being observed. Michigan State University Extension advises farmers to scout fields and if problems are observed, samples can be sent to MSU Diagnostic Services for analysis. This service is free thanks to the Michigan Wheat Program. Visit www.miwheat.org for more information on how to submit the samples.

First cutting alfalfa harvest is just getting under way in central Michigan for some of the larger farms that have large acreage and are in need of forage. The crop is approaching the stage for maximum forage quality. Using the base 42 GDD method, ideal timing is 680 GDD for a bunk silo and 750 GDD for an upright silo. We are currently at 546 GDD based on the Freeland Enviro-weather station. New alfalfa seedings are emerging quickly and look very good.

Oats and barley fields look extremely good this year. Stands are uniform with no problems observed.

Other Michigan State University Extension field crop regional reports from this week:

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